The San Francisco 49ers lost nose tackle Ian Williams to a fractured fibula, and we do not yet have a specific timetable for his return. He has been ruled out for Week 11, and likely will miss several more weeks. With his departure, the 49ers nose tackle depth chart currently consists of Quinton Dial, and maybe Tony Jerod-Eddie to some extent.
The team could add to that depth with the return of defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey. They have to activated him from injured reserve sometime between now and next Monday, otherwise he will have to go on season-long injured reserve. Last season, Dorsey replaced Williams at nose tackle, and did a fantastic job in the role.
The 49ers could decide to activate Dorsey sometime on Saturday, but even if they do, he and Dial's role could be relatively limited against the New York Giants. While the Giants will look to establish the run with Rashad Jennings, they are a team that uses an extensive amount of 3+ wide receiver sets. According to Jeff Deeney from Pro Football Focus, the Giants run 3+ wide receiver personnel 74.8 percent of the time. Someone asked if they might run it less with Jennings back, and it turns out they might actually use it more on Sunday. When Jennings has been in the lineup, the Giants have used 3+ wide receiver personnel 81.3 percent of the time. During Jennings's absence, they used that personnel 71.7 percent of the time.
The 49ers could use some additional depth at nose tackle, but for Sunday's game, we probably will not see a whole ton of the nose tackle. The Giants will use a whole lot of Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr., and Preston Parker on Sunday. Jeff ut together a rundown of where these three receivers run their wide receiver routes from in Giants formations:
Odell Beckham Jr.:
Outside LWR: 25.8%
Outside RWR: 54.5%
Outside LWR: 59.9%
Outside RWR: 35.7%
Preston Parker (last three games only)
Outside WR: 10.8%
As Jeff pointed out, if Dontae Johnson moves in at left cornerback, he would get a lot of Odell Beckham. Chris Culliver seems to line up fairly regularly at the right cornerback position, thus would seem more likely to get Rueben Randle. This will be a huge test for Johnson in what likely will be his most significant playing time of the season. He played 47 defensive snaps in Week 1, getting extra work when Tramaine Brock went down with turf toe. PFF graded him out positively in coverage, marking him down as giving up three receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown.
Quinton Dial will still get work in on Sunday, and could very well get some rotational work outside of the nickel. However, for purposes of the nose tackle, my guess is we do not see a whole lot of the traditional base defense.